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02/01/13 02/01/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" learning a lot about a the generative brain disease sparking when they are young and killing brain cells rather lives, call saying the -- causing issues. it is important to use that research to understand how to read change sports for kids so we do not put them to the same trauma.
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>> had games. a senate superbowl approaches, we look at the growing links between concussions and brain damage. we will speak with former professional wrestler and college football player chris nowinski, now a leading crusader to make football and other sports safer. longtime revolutionary. >> [indiscernible] writing about the life we live without having it edited by the system. >> as we mark the beginning of black history month, a new documentary premieres today about imprisoned journalist mumia abu-jamal. he will join us from inside prison in pennsylvania. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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in breaking news from turkey, at least two people have been killed in an apparent suicide bombing at the u.s. embassy in the capital of ankara. an official says the bomber set off an explosive device at the entrance to the diplomatic mission. the state department confirmed to cbs news least one security guard is dead. no group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. president obama spec for defense secretary chuck hagel faced a torrent of questions and criticism over his foreign policy stance thursday during his senate confirmation hearing. he has seen opposition from within his own republican party for failing to adequately back the party line on israel and iran. hegel was attacked during the hearing for earlier comments that were perceived as critical of israel. this is south carolina senator lindsey graham. >> you said the jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people. senator.itand israelis i cannot think of a more provocative thing to say about
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the relationship between the united states and israel and the senate or congress and which you said. do you agree with me you should not have said something like that? >> yes, i've already said that. >> he also faced a grilling from longtime friend and senate colleague arizona senator john mccain over his views on iraq war. >> were you correct or incorrect when he said the surge would be the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since vietnam? correct or incorrect? yes or no? >> by reference to -- >> the question is, were you right or wrong? that is pretty straightforward. >> chuck hagel served in the vietnam war, went on to clarify his current position with regards to iraq. >> that particular decision that was made on the surge, the more to the point our war in iraq, i think was the most fundamental bad, dangerous decision since
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vietnam. >> chuck hagel emphasized his support for israeli dominance and for keeping all options on the table to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. he also affirmed his commitment to implementing obama's repeal of don't ask, don't tell and to addressing the issue of sexual assault in the military. former massachusetts senator john kerry is due to be confirmed as secretary of state today as hillary clinton steps down. on wednesday, he bid farewell to the senate where he served since 1985. >> standing here at this desk that once belonged -- at this desk that once belonged to president kennedy and ted kennedy, i cannot help but be reminded that even our nation's greatest leaders and all of the rest of us are merely temporary workers. i am reminded this chamber is a
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living museum, a lasting memorial to the miracle of the american experiment. >> senator john kerry saying goodbye to the senate. a new united nations report has strongly condemned israeli settlements in the west bank, saying they violate the geneva convention and must be dismantled immediately or israel could potentially face charges. the u.n. human rights council says he's ready israeli settlements are -- israel boycotted the council's review of its human rights record this week, becoming the first country ever to do so. in egypt, thousands of protesters are gathering across the country today for a day of action against president morsi. the protests, day after rival political groups gathered for rare meeting to move toward a peaceful resolution after days
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of violent clashes. thursday's talks at a mosque brought together opposition leaders as well as leaders of president morsi's muslim brotherhood. the group signed an agreement to denounce violence and agreed to move toward national dialogue. >> the document details the need to control rumors, to control emotional assassinations, and violence that must be stopped. we spoke on matters which will follow the document, including dialogue, but not its conditions. there will be a decision made in committee to discuss all this under the watchful eye of of al- azhar. >> a u.s. military judge overseeing the death penalty trial of the accused 9/11 planners has ordered an end to secret government censorship of the proceedings after the sound in the courtroom was
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mysteriously cut during a discussion of cia prisons. an unidentified government agency has been ordered to dismantle equipment that allowed sounds -- outside censors to stop the broadcast of sound from the courtroom. the audio had been temporarily cut earlier this week while a defense lawyer made reference to a secret cia prison where the suspects were held and potentially tortured before moving to guantanamo. a defense lawyer said many questions still remain. >> today, the george ordered the prosecution must disconnect that censorship authority of the oca. the extent to which monitoring has taken place and will continue, however, is an open question. an emergency motion was filed today which addresses that issue after it came up this week, and the judge has said that will be the first issue to take up on february 11.
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i hope that we will take a pro- military baby step before finding out the truth of what is going on in the military commission, but events so far they say that hope is unfounded. >> in mexico city, at least 25 people are wounded after the explosion at the headquarters of mexico's state owned oil form, the amex. dozens were reportedly trapped after the explosion with authorities warning the number of casualties could rise. the blast occurred in the basement of the building an office complex that also houses one of the city's tallest skyscrapers. the cause of the blast is still unknown. the company said the region they have to evacuate the building because of an electrical issue, but later tweeted that the attorney general's office was investigating the blast. and other news from mexico, thousands of campesinos marched in the capital thursday to
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protest the planting of genetically modified corn by u.s. corporations. u.s. firms monsanto, dupont, and dow have applied for permits to grow millions of acres of genetically modified corn in northern mexico. opponents say the crops will inflict poverty and forced migration on indigenous people and peasants, some of whom have been farming corn for generations. the national union of autonomous regional peasant organizations has condemned -- protesters had been on a rotating hunger strike against gmo's for more than a week. on thursday, they called for president peña to reject the permits. this is one of the hunger strikers. >> we believe the only glitch in that we as the growers have with
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mother earth are the natural seats. we have to remember that mexico has six distinct varieties of corn we have cultivated over the last 10,000 years and we have fed the world with this. it is a struggle for the life and health of our country. >> in guatemala, a landmark trial has opened for former dictator accused of presiding over a series of massacres of indigenous people in the early 1980's. efraín rios montt is the first head of state in the americas to stand trial for genocide. he is charged in connection with the slaughter of more than 70 other people in guatemala's ixil region during a scorched-earth campaign purportedly aimed at rooting out guerillas. he seized power in 1982 and his 17-month rule is seen as one of the bloodiest chapters in guatemala's 36-year dirty war. at the trial thursday, a massacre survivor recalled the killings. >> all of our families were massacred, executed without
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reason. we hope justice is done. it does not take how much time it takes because our mission is to end in justice in guatemala. >> an report says massive incarceration rates in the u.s. are being fueled by harsh sentencing practices that run contrary to international law. in their latest world report, human rights watch found u.s. prisons house an increasing number of elderly people whose needs they're not equipped to handle as well as more than 95,000 youth under the age of 18 who are being held in adult facilities. hundreds of children are reportedly being kept in solitary confinement. people of color continue to be incarcerated at hugely disproportionate rates. african americans represent only 13% of u.s. population, but account for more than 28% of all arrests. the u.s. leads the world in incarceration. in new york city, the family of
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a 7-year-old boy has filed suit against police in the city saying the boy was handcuffed and interrogated for 10 hours for allegedly stealing $5. wilson reyes was detained in a room at his bronx school for four hours, then take into a precinct house where he was held for another six hours in charge with robbery, according to the lawsuit. the boy's mother snapped a photo of him hang up to ruling saying -- in the icelandic media report has revealed new details about u.s. attempts to investigate the whistleblowing website wikileaks. is spokesperson told the broadcaster ruv at the agency landed in 2011 without warning in a bid to investigate wikileaks operations inside iceland. but the country's home security ordered the agents to leave.
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wikileaks founder julian assange has repeatedly voiced fears he could face u.s. prosecution after the site published troves of classified material revealing us abuses. he remains in the ecuador embassy in london in a bid to avoid extradition to sweden and ultimately, he says, to the united states. and an opponent of the keystone xl pipeline has been arrested after interrupting a pipeline industry conference by chaining himself to the sound equipment. ramsey sprague disrupted a speech by tom hamilton, the manager of quality and compliance for transcanada's controversial pipeline, during a conference in texas. he railed against the pipeline for several minutes as a security official tried to stop him. >> keystone xl will be a massive failure. proof positive the wells are [indiscernible]
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photographic and video evidence the wells are inadequate. >> with great respect, sir -- we understand you're here to make your point. how do we get you off of here? >> i don't have a key. >> that is a crying shame. will you be quiet will he finishes his speech and we will dissembled cutters? >> ramsey sprague continued to decry transcanada's plan to build a pipeline carrying tar sands crude from canada to texas for several minutes as officials were unable to remove him. >> we apologize. we will place some gentle music while we get some old cutters. we apologize. >> i apologize transcanada is stealing land from my friends in order to facilitate a toxic pipeline that is full of holes for the >> ramsey sprague was finally escorted out of the conference and arrested.
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his action is part of a massive grassroots movement against the keystone xl pipeline, which opponents say will devastate the environment and imperil the health of communities in its path. president obama has delayed a decision on the project until spring after initially putting it off until after the november election. chinese hackers broke agaiin toe times. the times hackers appear to have used tactics employed by the chinese military. beverage maker pepsico has announced they will stop using a potentially harmful ingredient in gatorade following an online campaign launched by 15-year-old girl. she became concerned about brominated vegetable oil after reading about it online.
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the ingredient, which is used in some drinks to keep flavors from separating, is patented as a flame retardant and has potentially the link to a range of health conditions including neurological disorders and thyroid changes. more than 200,000 people signed her online petition against brominated vegetable oil. pepsi will replace the gritty with a substitute. former new york city democratic mayor ed koch has died at the age of 88 to. the legendary mayor served three terms in office from 1978 to 1989. he is widely credited with rescuing the city from the brink of financial ruin, but also faced criticism for handing -- the handling of unions and the early onset of the aids crisis. ed koch was known for his feisty demeanor which gave him a national reputation and sparked global political controversies. the writer pete hamill said of ed koch, "that's the voice of new york, that is what we are." ed koch died this morning here in new york city.
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this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we begin today's coverage with more on the death of former new york mayor ed koch. juan gonzalez is usually sitting beside me on fridays, but he is headed to the airport to speak in houston. we just got the news a couple of hours ago that mayor koch died at new york's columbia presbyterian hospital. can you talk about his legacy? you have covered him for many years. >> yes, amy. he really was a larger-than-life figure in the history of modern new york city. clearly, a man, as you said, he was brash and combative, but it the same time known for his humor and his ability to disarm even his strongest opponents. you really presided over a time of tens of people in the city. some credit him for steering the city to the financial crisis, it is really -- i think was an
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effort not just of the mayor and state officials, but also the labor unions of the city who led the city money at the time when no one else would. there is often an attempt to rewrite history about the financial crisis. ed koch was an amazing figure. he was a onetime liberal, anti- war as a congressman who in his later years became increasingly a conservative on affirmative action, and really developed during his terms of office a very hostile relationship with the african-american and latino community. i will never forget in 1989 when he was attempting for his fourth
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term and he went to the funeral of a black teenager in brooklyn who had been killed by a mob of whites in bensonhurst. there is such anger in the black community at the time that ed koch was chased out by the crowd and forced to sit in his limousine. he was unsuccessful to have a fourth term. but there was also a lot of good that happened during his time of mayor. he launched a huge low-income housing program, feeling it was the responsibility of the government to assure there was affordable housing for low- income yorkers. he also represented that combative spirit of new yorkers, the most famous line was "how am i doing?"
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i think people who look back will set, "mayor, you did pretty well." even until the last few days, he was still pontificating on a local news cable channel as one of the wise guys you would render his opinion on almost anything happening in the political world and new york city. he was a larger-than-life figure, very controversial, but [indiscernible] >> we want to ask it to stay on the phone as we move from the death of mayor koch to a new documentary which you also are in, premiering in theaters today called "long-distance revolutionary." in 1982, mumia abu-jamal was sentenced to die for killing philadelphia police officer daniel faulkner. his always maintained his
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innocence as perhaps america's most famous prisoner freed in 2011, an appeals court upheld his conviction but also vacated his death sentence. it found jurors were given confusing instructions. when prosecutors said there would no longer pursue the death penalty, mumia was transferred into the general prison population. in a moment, we will plan excerpt from the selma. first, we're joined by mumia abu-jamal himself from prison in pennsylvania, not where he was on death row, but -- well, welcome to "democracy now!" tell us where you are. >> good morning. i am in the eastern side of pennsylvania for the first time in a quarter of a century -- actually, more. it is called [indiscernible] i have no idea what it means. it is not far from philadelphia and pretty close to nyc. >> can you tell us what it means to no longer be on death row?
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>> i could, but i would be lying. i call this slow death row. life in pennsylvania means life. pennsylvania has one of the largest "life" populations of any state in the united states. it had the distinction of having the absolute highest number of juvenile lifers of any state in the united states, indeed, many jurisdictions in the world. that should give you some sense. >> juan, if you'd like to ask mumia abu-jamal a question? >> mumia, i know over the years this enormous putin has developed around the world demanding more freedom and your insisting on the unjust nature of the trial that many years ago
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in your case, it your reflections on this enormous movement that has developed and its role in terms of the prison industrial complex in general, in your case in particular? >> it is the essence of a grassroots movement because it came from the bottom, not from the top. people, many of whom i knew in freedom, and would not let me go, and would not leave me alone, and held on to me despite every challenge. at the core, of course, are people i fell in love with many years ago. from several members of the organization, they built around them a grassroots organization that in many ways is
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unprecedented in organizing. to be in the core of it and see it is nothing less than remarkable. it continues to grow and build and demand an end to mass incarceration. an end to what i call slow death row, an end to solitary confinement. it is a vibrant movement. like every movement, it ebbs and flows, but to be perfectly honest, it is still with us. anyone who denies that either is blind or a fool. >> mumia, are you still appealing your case? >> yes. i have always appealed, i have always fought, and there's no reason not to do so now.
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in this point in time, we are kind of in an interim because we had kind of a shadow sentencing with no presence, no arguments, no briefs, no anything. we kind of got an order one day saying, you know, you are life. that is not what the rules provide. there has certainly been resistance on that score. anyone who knows anything about the case or read the amnesty international report on the case knows that my case is right with new rules, all the time. -- rife with new rules all the time. >> did you witness the second inauguration of president obama? i am wondering your thoughts. >> i did, indeed. it was with a mixture of sadness, in some respects. sadness at lost opportunities,
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but also a kind of wonder. baracke to admit that's obama is one of the most talented politicians and skillful political forces this country has ever seen. it is also true that that is so large the because of certain constituents in this country that pushed the candidacy. sadness because many of the hopes of many of those constituencies have been dashed. that is the nature of politics in many ways. you run one way and rule another. someone said that you run in poetry, but you govern in prose. >> mumia, as you are off of death row, or as you call it a
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slow death row, what is it like to be there with other people? we wanted to speak yesterday on the phone, the you had an opponent the law library which he did not want to mess. talk about your life behind bars. >> let me talk about the men that are around me. it may not surprise you that a lot of these guys are black man, a lot of them are very old black men. i remember, and still feel, the shock of seeing an line that man in wheelchairs' -- a line of black men in wheelchairs being rolled to chow. i have never seen anything like it. i stopped because you saw these men being rolled out in a mist. you see very, very young men, men who do not even shave. you can see the span of black
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manhood from teenagers -- literally teenagers -- two men in their sixties and seventies and beyond. it is a stunning thing to see. and the size. there must be 2200 men in this population, but the size is just stunning. to be walking around in the midst of 400, 500 man is an experience that i had to relearn because i have surely forgotten it. >> you are writing yet another book in prison. you have written a number of them. >> yes, yes. this is my second with a co- author. stephen vittoria, the great filmmaker -- >> who is joining us in the studio right now. >> we are, shall we say, zeniet historians. we're looking at the world, looking at the empire through
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our own eyes and writing not just out of our research, although the research is extensive, but we're running out of our hearts and experiences. in the spirit of howard zinn, it is from deep below -- >> subject to monitoring and recording. >> i assure you we will present something richer than many people have ever seen before. it is a labor of historical lust and great fun. >> what are you calling the book? >> "murder incorporated." >> why that title? >> it comes from lbj who upon the assassination of john f. kennedy, when he is seated to the presidency and began getting reports about what is happening in central america, he was famously quoted as saying "my
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god, we're running a god damn murder incorporated down here." and indeed, they were. >> mumia, i know your line is one of the cut off in a minute. i was wondering what message do you have to people outside the bars right now? >> increasingly, that space has expanded because if you look inside the bars, you're looking at millions of men and women and juveniles -- as i noted before -- but even beyond that, i mean, how free are we today, those who claim to be non-prisoners? your computers are being read by others in government. your letters, your phone calls are being intercepted. we live now in a national security state where the united states is fast becoming one of the biggest open-air prison on
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earth. i mean, we can speak about freedom and the u.s. -- >> 60 seconds remaining. >> but have we exampled freedom? i think the answer should be very clear. we have not. we're becoming a less-free nation every day. i think people should rise up and organize. frankly, they should raise hell. if you don't want to join our movement, joined some movement. but damn it we're in an age where we can never capture it again. >> is the widow of dannel foster, the prisoner -- the police officer when you were convicted of killing is listening, what you have to say to her? >> that the struggle for justice and freedom did not end on december 9, 1981. it began then. and she should join us because
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our movement is growing. >> mumia, thank you for being with us mumia abu-jamal just cut off from the pennsylvania prison where he now resides. he was on death row in pennsylvania for 29 years, now in prison for life, award winning journalist chronicles the human condition. when we come back, we're joined by two people who have made a film about his life, "long distance revolutionary: a journey with mumia abu-jamal." ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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the song is in this documentary premiering in the united states tonight called, "long distance revolutionary: a journey with mumia abu-jamal." we are joined now by its filmmakers. the film was written, produced and directed by stephen vittoria, produced by noelle hanrahan of prison radio project as well steve is a longtime documentary filmmaker. we recently featured "one bright shining moment" about senator george mcgovern. we want to bring you an extended look at mumia's early life in philadelphia's black panther party and as a radio reporter. in this excerpt, you hear from mumia abu-jamal's sister and former colleagues. >> it was gone forever. >> the me ask you, what did cash
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to say before he stepped in the ring question this season, muhammed ali. >> i did not choose the name and i did not want it. i am a homily. >> he had a few great teachers. one who was from kenya talk to the kids in swahili and mumia thought it was super cool. so he decided he was going to take a swahili name. >> i guess that is when i gave him props. you got a new name, this is really great. you dropped your slave name. >> i don't know what his mother thought of it. i'm not sure he insisted that she called him mumia print >> i don't care what you tried to call yourself. you are wesley cook. she fought it for so long. but i know that mumia went through some days where he ignored her calling him was the cook.
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>> one of the greatest people that has ever tried this earth, i draw the line in the dust across the, before the feet of tierney, segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever. ♪ ♪ >> george wallace was running for president in 1968. the civil-rights movement is in full crowd in the south. the country is being changed. mumia wanted to be part of that change. >> very, very right-wing independent party, although we probably would not be considered right wing in america's political context today. we were poor, black kids, teenagers.
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this racist from the depths of the south there to come to our city. your tens of thousands of white people waiting flags. you had george wallace making his standard stump speech. >> i want to tell you this, that anybody who raises any money and blood and close to the communist today he or hitting american servicemen are guilty of treason by the constitution of the nine states. >> not very original. the thing we said was "black power." >> they shouted "black power." [indiscernible]
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>> the police surrounded us in a matter of moments and escorted us rather roughly, i should say, out of the spectrum. people were spitting on is calling us "nigger this, nigger that." i remember being beaten to the ground rid i sought a pant leg and it was blue and had a strike on it. so, it to me this was a cop. doing what i was taught to do, let us said, "help, police!" i remember the guy walking over very briskly and his foot drawing back, kicking me in the face. i have always said "thank you" to backup, because he kicked me
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straight into the black panther party. >> that was mumia abu-jamal in the new documentary, "long distance revolutionary: a journey with mumia abu-jamal." it is opening around the country starting today. the producer, writer, director of the film, stephen vittoria joins us, as well as the co- producer noelle hanrahan of the prison ready project. these last few minutes you just turn me on the fun directly from prison, but you visited him yesterday. >> i visited him yesterday. it was one of our extraordinary -- another one of our extraordinary visits. i know it is hard to believe the good to a maximum-security prison when he was on death row and you had a good time but not for mumia, but he makes a good time. what we try to do with the film is capture mumia's personality, the compassion, the love that mumia has for people. ultimately, i think that is
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what true revolutionaries come from, a place of love. i made the film because you wake up in a country and realize the country is being run by mass murderers, economic rapists, and general run-of-the-mill psychopaths. i started to look for some sanity. i found sanity in a dark, dank hall on death row in pennsylvania. i had been a longtime reader of mumia's material, listening to the incredible broadcast from you guys and my partner noelle hanrahan from prison radio. she has got his voice out all over the world. i wanted to offer some sanity. john culver says we have made the unthinkable normal in this country, and the normal unthinkable. i want to offer a ray of hope from the insanity that i think mumia offers all of us. people in this country have been offered war and violence and no health care and horrific
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contribution to the death of the planet. mumia offers the opposite of that. people say, how do you make a film about some as a radical? i don't think mumia is radical. i think people who can launch cruise missiles into neighborhoods are radical. >> from mcgovern, the subject of one of your films, to mumia abu- jamal, what is the trajectory? >> it is huge. george was -- >> former senator, president to candidate. >> george mcgovern was a revolutionary in the 1950's. he tried and made some changes, but real change comes from outside the system and i think mumia is a bright, shining example. >> noelle hanrahan, your bid making possible the broadcast of mumia abu-jamal's life from his
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voice from prison from death row, which steve says is a herculean task. we have run some of his commentaries. why is this some important? it does not focus on his case. >> the state has always tried to minimize mumia as the journalist and -- if he had been on the streets, have been able to be a reporter for the last 30 years, we may not be in this situation. the suppression of his voice i believe is directly related to what he has to say. prison radio humanizes prisoners. it brings their voices into the public dialogue. i trust this country needs that information and that we can make better decisions if we hear these people. mumia happens to be an extraordinary journalist, reporting from an extraordinary place. he demands to be in the public debate.
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>> the film opens today in new york city as cinema village and will run through the weekend, super bowl sunday, and around the country? >> yes, seattle, miami, we go to new orleans, then we open a los angeles -- my new home town -- on march 1, and on from there. new york is our launch. it is really, really important to the success of the film. >> that the cinema village here in new york and los angeles in march. thank you both for being with us, stephen vittoria, director, producer, writer of the film, "long distance revolutionary: a journey with mumia abu-jamal." noelle hanrahan of prison radio coproduce this down. when we come back, we will top super bowl sunday, talk about brain injuries, and the dangers football players and others face with someone who knows, a former football player himself, who now runs a major brain injury
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institute at harvard university. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as the san francisco 49ers and baltimore ravens prepare for sunday's super bowl, the safety of the game is facing increasing scrutiny as more evidence emerges about links between concussions and brain damage. president obama recently said -- "if i had a son, i have to think long and hard before i let him play football." research shows repeated blows to the head can lead to chronic headaches, deteriorating memory, early dementia and even premature death. former football all pro rodney
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harrison revealed this week he is "scared to death." >> i would give up, hit someone, the entire state of misspending. i would walk to the sideline, there will give me two advils and some to get back in the game. if the nfl is guilty of anything, it is the lack of awareness and education that they told us. they never explained to us or even let us know what a concussion was. i had no idea until recently. even since i retired in 2008 from the patriots, i would still experience headaches. i would experience headaches from sunday until tuesday and wednesday. even at times, there's a sense of loneliness, anxiety problems, and sometimes i just get headaches from just being in bright lights. it is tough. people have to understand these players, a lot of their agenda is based on money, but a lot of these players are really suffering read this is for real. i am experiencing now.
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i am scared to death. i have children and a beautiful wife. i'm scared what will happen to me 10, 15 years from now. >> law concussion were once an unspoken and misunderstood problem, today more than 4000 former nfl players have filed a lawsuit against the league. they contend the nfl, which makes $9.5 billion a year, new hits to the head could lead to long-term brain damage but chose not disclose that information. new rules are being instituted to minimize future injuries. for example, a player can no longer lead with his helmet or hit a defenseless opponent rid for more we go to new orleans just outside the super bowl to speak to the altar on which the film was based, chris nowinski, author of, "head games: football's concussion crisis." he's a former professional wrestler who has become a leading expert on sports related head injuries and former football player at harvard university. his co-director of the center
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for study of dramatic encephalopathy at boston university school of medicine, which maintains ex-athletes brain bank to study the effects of concussions. welcome to "democracy now!" your at the super bowl to highlight something that is just really the beginnings -- beginning to be talked about as many players bring suit against the national football league. can you talk about brain injuries, what it means to have a concussion? what people will probably see a lot of on sunday. >> i found down -- i did not know i was getting concussions my entire career until it was too late, whether i was playing football or wrestling. i would get in the head, like dow, forget what i was doing, just try to tough it off. what we have realized through research is a can trigger degenerative brain disease that
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eventually will take away your memory, your ability to put together sentences right, like today, and in our last december, 35 peformer professionals, even high school players had this disease. >> the leak has said for a long time the players can say if they get hurt they don't want to go back in, that it is their responsibility to say they are injured. >> and rodney hit it on the head. it was always a question of education. i did not know the definition of concussion in 19 years of bashing my head. they never force anyone to tell an athlete what it means when you get hit in the head and things go fuzzy. obol was always informed consent in the beginning. that is why ted johnson was one of the first to come
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forward. he said, at least let me make this decision for myself. in 2010, the nfl started educating the players. it is different game at the pro level, but there is nothing such as informed consent for children. 95% of the people playing football in this country are under the age of consent, under 18. that is where we should really be focusing. >> let's talk about that. but there are mothers and fathers and kids listening right now. what about family whose kid is just really good in football in high school, maybe even being had hunted for the big leagues, what do you say? >> i say it is a huge risk right now. your child surviving -- youth football right now is mostly lock. there are so few standards in place to protect them.
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consider the fact that yesterday the nfl announced they will have independent neurologist's on the sideline because they do not trust the team doctors to make a judgment about whether someone has a concussion to go back in. that is some level of safety we have in the nfl. an athletic trainer is paid to sit in the skybox to watch the television feed because they miss so many concussions on the field. these are millionaires. he of coaches with no training, young developing brain is more sensitive to trauma, so from that perspective, you wonder how you could expose children to a game we think is killing adults? >> chris nowinski, can you talk about this unprecedented lawsuit that has been filed against the nfl? >> personally, with our role, we can stay out of this. but from what has been happening, former players who did suffer injuries on the job
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are suing the league for not warning them and then not taking care of them. the reality is, when i wrote the first edition of "head games" in 2006, i was appalled by the fact chronic and supple off the peak was originally called "punch drunk was put in 1928 -- we knew putting players back in the brain was very bad when they had concussions, but we did it. 1937 coaches association and its top rat the fact that have to stop putting guys back in. 72 years later when that became policy. i don't know exactly what happened, but there are a lot of guys suffering that need care. i understand why they're suing. >> i want to turn to an excerpt of the documentary based on your book by the same name, "head games."
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>> it has been known for a long time that banging your head over and over and over again can be a bad thing. >> i remember i hit the ground and i forgot where we were. i forgot what we were doing. i forgot what was coming next. i was glad the exposing myself to repetitive brain trauma for years. >> this friday night over a million kids will take to the football field. i am certain radical measures are needed for football to continue safely. >> no matter what kind of helmet you build, it is a dangerous sport. >> cocaptain of the football team committed suicide. he had 20 carries of his friend or falling apart. -- 20 areas of his brain that were falling apart.
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>> i don't know where i am 10, 20 years from now. >> after i had my first concussion, every time i would do heading, i was the stars. >> she did not pull herself out of the game, did not tell the coach. >> people said i was on the ice for for five minutes. i only remember 20 seconds of it. >> that is your brain. how much of you are you willing to put on the line for the game? >> what is the level of acceptance and what is the level for reasonable reform? >> ifill have one at a for getting done this with concussions, you are missing them. >> i might look back and say i wished i had stopped him after this last concussion he loved to play hockey. we love watching him play hockey. >> i believe you just have to protect them as much as you can
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and pray. >> an excerpt of, "head games," based on our guests chris nowinski's book by the same title. there is a new article out called, "will brain injury lawsuits doom or save the nfl?" chris nowinski, what is your response? >> i think that is an accurate futrell of the situation. football has a very short window to reform itself, especially at the youth level so we can feel comfortable and exposing kids to this game. pretty soon we will be a will to
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diagnose cte in living people. the day we do that, the they will scan a high-school football team and find 10% from 30% have degenerated brain disease before the age of 18, i think the game had a very, very short future after that. football needs to reform and do so quickly. we're doing a press conference today talking about the fact the only place that does not set limits dealt frequently how many days you can hit each other is high school football. for example, in illinois, we were not allowed to hit in the summer but now illinois has 20 days of summer contact. it is bizarre. >> chris, a lot of people have learned about this through the suicides of football players. one of those players who actually shot himself, that instead of shooting himself in the head, did so in the chest because he wanted to donate his brain to science to study. >> former chicago player.
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i grew up watching him. he gave me a scholarship when i was 17. he was one of the most successful as post-nfl career, on the board of trustees of notre dame, ran a multimillion- dollar distribution. at 45 started having problems with headaches, memory issues and impose control. he got a violent with his family, children. his wife divorced him read he ended up $20 million in debt. he left a note asking they could study his brain so they would not know it was not him that did those terrible things. he had an advanced case of cte. >> chronic traumatic encephalopathy. chris nowinski, your our sports legacy institute and work at boston university, you have the brains of various football players? you are collecting this as
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evidence? what's right. there never was a center in the world dedicated to this disease. the beginning of a city of any disease is having to know what you're dealing with. we started this in 2008 and have the brains of over 140 athletes, over 100 of which have turned up positive for this disease -- not just football players. there are other sports will also introduce this year. not even just athletes. battered spouses, epileptics with dozens of falls, war veterans. this is a disease we did not understand or pay attention to, and we really have to catch up. >> christa wednesday, thank you for being with us and your work. chris nowinski chris, thank you for being with us and your work. his offer of, "head games: football's concussion crisis." juan gonzalez will be speaking
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Democracy Now
WHUT February 1, 2013 6:00pm-7:00pm EST

Series/Special. Current Events & News in the World

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 18, U.s. 10, Koch 8, Pennsylvania 8, New York 7, Mumia 7, New York City 6, Chris Nowinski 6, United States 5, Noelle Hanrahan 5, Israel 5, Amy Goodman 4, Guatemala 4, Chuck Hagel 3, Transcanada 3, America 3, Vietnam 3, Mexico 3, Ramsey Sprague 3, Nfl 2
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